What are the advantages and disadvantages of microbes, vis-à-vis destructive “hardware” such as guns and bombs?

Last week (in March 2015), your Course Developer had a routine appointment with his doctor, and was asked a non-routine question: “Have you been out of the country during the past 21 days?” I immediately knew why I’d been asked; Ebola, in West Africa. The world is now so small that even such a faraway threat cannot be dismissed as trivial.

What experiences have you had, with one or more procedures intended to stop the spread of disease? These could be things like (1) vaccinations you otherwise wouldn’t have taken, (2) areas you couldn’t visit, (2) fruit, vegetables and foodstuffs you couldn’t bring home, (4) intrusive questions by border control officials, or (5) etc. Tell us about them.

But again, this isn’t just a trip down Memory Lane. Please do some research. In addition to discussing the personal effects (if any) of what you experienced, tell us something about its history and rationale. Take, for example, a mandatory vaccination. Is it effective? Is it safe? Is it controversial? Did you perceive it as an infringement upon your right to privacy, or to manage your own health? Explain. (NO MORE THAN TWO PARAGRAPHS)

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PART 2 Based upon your reading of the Background materials, and your own additional research, prepare an essay discussing the use of infectious disease as a weapon of international terror. You should address the following questions: •What are the advantages and disadvantages of microbes, vis-à-vis destructive “hardware” such as guns and bombs? •What would be the characteristics of an ideal “weapon bug?” Things to consider: ◦Vector (i.e., carried by people, animals, in foodstuff, on other goods?) ◦Lethality ◦Transmissibility (ease with which it is spread) ◦Mode of transmission (airborne, direct contact, indirect contact) ◦Arrival mode (airplane, ship, on foot) ◦Based upon the above, select an organism. Explain your selection. ◦Describe the most effective countermeasures. ◦What precautions, if any, should logistics companies take, in addition to those prescribed by government regulation? Explain.

Make full use of sources.

 

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